How to Buy or Earn Bitcoin
Most, if not all, darknet markets use bitcoin as a form of payment. Even if you want to use bitcoin for legal purposes, you still have to earn it somehow. If you've never used it before, you may wonder, where can I get some? There are multiple answers to this question, so we'll provide a few options here, as well as some resources where you can do further research.
What is Bitcoin?
If you're completely new to bitcoin (BTC), then a primer may be in order. BTC is what is known as a "cryptocurrency," meaning a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptographic methods for security purposes. While there are many other cryptocurrencies at present, BTC is considered to be the first, and is the most widely used. Contrary to popular belief, it is not only used for illegal purposes; many online stores accept BTC right now, and more are opening up to the idea as time goes on. If you want to use it, then what's the process?
Step 1: Get a Bitcoin Wallet
Before you go about buying or earning bitcoin, you need a "wallet" to store your coins. There are three types of bitcoin wallets: hardware wallets, software wallets, and web wallets.
Hardware Wallets - hardware wallets are actual, physical devices that store your coins offline. The issue with online wallets is that even though they take numerous security precautions, there is always a chance that they could be compromised. In the case of a hardware wallet, an attacker would have to have physical access to it in order to gain entrance. There are several examples of hardware wallets, but the most popular are:
Ledger Nano X - the Nano was the first hardware wallet, and is still considered to be one of the best. The company makes several different wallets, including the Nano S and Nano X; X is the latest model. The X is a bluetooth-enabled device that stores the private keys to your bitcoin.
Trezor T - Trezor Model T is the newest generation of hardware wallet made by Trezor. As opposed to traditional cryptocurrency wallets, the Model T allows you to store your private keys offline, making them more difficult to access by unwanted parties.
KeepKey - KeepKey is the main wallet affiliated with the ShapeShift platform, a web interface for managing all of your crypto in one place.
Online Wallets - while there are a number of online wallets you can use, one of the oldest and most secure is Electrum. When you create an account with Electrum, you make a private encryption key ("seed"), which consists of 12 to 24 words. As a result, your private key will have a strength ranging from 128 bits to 256 bits, which makes cracking it a challenge.
Other online wallets include Exodus, Blockchain, and Trustwallet. Some of these have both web wallets (which you can access via a browser) and software wallets (which you can download and install onto your machine). Exodus, for example, offers a wallet that you can install which supports a variety of coins, including bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Tether.
Step 2: Buy or Earn Bitcoin
You can buy bitcoin from many places, including sites like bitcoin.com, BitForex, and HCoin, or you can earn bitcoin with different apps or on websites that pay you to do tasks like completing surveys (though this can take some time). Suffice it to say that as with standard money, there's no "get rich quick scheme" that really works.
On an exchange like the above, you can easily purchase bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, Monero, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. Some darknet markets accept these other coins as well (and newer coins are started to gain acceptance).
Also, there are bitcoin casinos like FortuneJack, Kingbit and True Flip, where you can gamble for bitcoin, although just as with standard gambling, there is a high chance that you will lose money. True Flip cannot be legally accessed from the US, although if you access it from Tor or some other method, you may be able to circumvent the restriction.
There are plenty of other ways to earn bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well. One such method is through a bitcoin faucet, in which you earn rewards through viewing ads, completing surveys, or filling out CAPTCHAS. Even though the payout is limited, over time, you can earn a fair amount (especially if you combine it with other approaches).
If you want to start purchasing or earning cryptocurrency in any way, it helps to do further research and get familiar with how they work before you dive deeply (especially if your intention is to use them on darknet markets, etc.). Compare the different methods and weigh their advantages and disadvantages to decide which works best for you. Although it's in digital form, bitcoin and its contemporaries are still a lot like traditional money.